Ten years ago Rory McIlroy’s dad and three friends bet 400 pounds ($683 in American dollars today) that his son would win the British Open by the time he was 25. The odds at the time? A good bet for the house at 500-1. After three days of the Open Championship that bet stands to win McIlroy’s dad and his friends just over $340k in American dollars. That’s faith in your son, even when the odds weren’t really in your favor on the bet. After all, the only golfer in the last fifty years to win a British Open before the age of 25 was Tiger Woods. No British or Irish or Scottish golfer had done it by 25 years old in generations. The odds should have been more like 10,000 to 1 instead of 500 to 1. But McIlroy’s dad didn’t blink, setting up one of the most entertaining subplots for the final round of the British Open, Rory may take home a big paycheck for winning the tournament, but so will his dad and his buddies.
Futures bets like these are popular in England and Ireland, where sports betting is legal throughout the countries. Of course, most parents make their bets and the house never pays a dime because the odds of any individual child attaining great sports success are tiny. But this time? Uh oh, the house is in for a six-figure hit.
The hit, however, will probably be worth the free advertising the house will receive. As a result many more parents will flock to make bets on their children, bets that the house will never end up cashing, helping to replenish whatever they lost on this bet.
McIlroy’s dad confirmed the bet for Andrew Cotter.
Given that McIlroy has a six stroke lead and is a prohibitive favorite to win the Open tomorrow, this might be the most entertaining story of the day. Particularly for McIlroy’s dad’s three buddies, who might need the $85k each more than he does. We need them on camera on the final few holes, particularly if it gets tight.